Fresh roasted coffee, carrots every shade from red to orange, and mounds and mounds of local peaches spread across the tables. E walks ahead of us and together, we bob and weave through the crowd to inspect this week’s assortment of goods. For our family, there is no better way to spend our Saturday mornings than shopping the booths at the Forsyth Farmer’s Market and finding some culinary inspiration. This week is going to be a crazy one (aren’t they all?) so it was nice to take an hour or so and enjoy the day.
I picked four small – but lovely – zucchini from Bethesda Farm. I initially planned to grill them with hamburgers from Hunter Cattle but as our vegetable bounty grew, I chose a different, sweeter purpose for those little guys.
When I got home, I thumbed through a book recommended by a friend titled How It All Vegan and found an amazing recipe for zucchini bread.
Aside: While our family is not (presently) vegetarian or vegan, I try to limit meat from the “faceless farmer.” Meaning, I like to know who raised the animals, what they were fed and the conditions under which they lived. And that can be expensive. To offset that cost, we try to eat vegetarian meals several nights a week. Cheese is a staple in many vegetarian meals so I’ve found vegan recipes to be the easiest for our family.
I have trouble following recipes. When I get a dish in mind, I typically find several different recipes and pick ingredients and methods from each, piecing it back together like some sort of culinary Mr. Potato Head. This is a strange quirk in my personality as I am generally a strict rule follower. So I appreciate that the recipes in How It All Vegan are purposefully vague; nuts instead of walnuts, sweetener instead of sugar and so on. But even with
this leeway, I made quite a few substitutions to the original recipe.
Zucchini Bread – modified from How It All Vegan
(my specifics in parenthesis)
1 1/2 c. flour (I used 3/4 c. all purpose, 3/4 c. whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
egg replacer (I used 1 large egg)
1/2 c. sweetener (blonde coconut sugar)
1/3 c. oil (vegetable oil)
1 tsp vinegar (white)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. zucchini, grated (I used 2 c.)
1/2 c. raisins (3 snack sized boxes)
1/2 c. nuts, chopped (pecans)
1/4 c. water (optional)
I mixed my flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a big bowl. In a separate bowl, I combined the egg, sugar, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract.
I found the coconut sugar at the co-op a few weeks ago and have been eager to try it in a recipe. It has a texture similar to brown sugar and a delicious toasted aroma with a definite hint of coconut (obviously).
I used vegetable oil but will try coconut oil next time – I get nervous with too many modifications in baked goods.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix. Add the zucchini, raisins and chopped nuts.
I am a terrible planner and forgot to buy raisins. Fortunately I was able to raid E’s snack stash. She didn’t mind.
Mix together until “just mixed” and add the 1/4 c. water if it seems too dry – which mine did.
I took a picture of it before it went in the oven but it looked quite unappetizing so I omitted it from the post.
Pour into an oiled bread pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or so.
During that 45 minutes, I should have cleaned up the superb mess I created but I instead spent it chugging Emergen-C and Echinacea tea. I guess my body doesn’t much mind that this is a really, really terrible time to be sick.
The zucchini bread was a huge hit with Hubs and the girls. Chunk was standing at my knees, bouncing and shrieking for more. So, I will be making more. Next time, I will use coconut oil instead of vegetable but I’m unsure if I should melt it or keep it solid as it is at room temperature. Of course, as the weather and my kitchen get warmer over coming weeks, I think that decision will be made for me. The recipe is so basic, I think I could toss in a little shredded carrot or perhaps diced dried apricots.